Saturday 18 November 2017

Tough at the top: makers race to keep new cars coming

* This week's New York show is latest platform for a series of new, revised and concept models

New crop: Mercedes GLE - new petrol-electric plug-in hybrid
New crop: Mercedes GLE - new petrol-electric plug-in hybrid
Jaguar XF
Kia Optima
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

IT seems every car maker is working around the clock to keep up with the pace of development, and competition for buyers.

Take Mercedes. Its AMG division is beavering away to come up with an even quicker, more extreme version of its wonderful GT road car ahead in time for 2016 launch.

At the same time it is preparing to roll out the revised GLE (former M-Class) at the New York show this week. Along with a swathe of upgrades, there is a new petrol-electric plug-in hybrid.

Not to be outdone, Jaguar Land Rover are showing their new midsize executive XF and a super-super luxurious Range Rover at the New York event.

The XF has more space, less weight and is easier on fuel. Naturally, it also has a big spread of new technology.

Expect to see it late, late this year. It derives a fair bit from the smaller XE (rival for BMW 3-series) and so has the firm's aluminium architecture, and the new line of 2-litre diesel and petrol 4cyl Ingenium engines.

There will also be a twin-turbocharged 3-litre V6 diesel and a supercharged 3-litre V6 petrol.

The super luxurious Range Rover SVAutobiography comes courtesy of the company's Special Vehicle Operations division and goes on sale this summer.

Kia are introducing their new Optima at New York too. The Ford Mondeo rival is due here early next year, we are reliably told.

Meantime Volvo are following the markets and building cars where they sell them in big numbers. And that means they will open a car plant in the US. It's part of its attempt to make a return to global markets. We're told production at the factory will start in 2018. According to Volvo, vehicles with the same underpinnings as the XC90 will be built there.

Toyota meantime have given us a teaser of the face-lifted RAV4 as well as revealing there will be a hybrid version of it - probably for sale in 2016.

The company has also lifted the wraps off a new global vehicle architecture it claims will reduce costs across the board.

It's called the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Toyota say it is a system of lighter and more compact components for a new generation of front, and rear-wheel-drive, vehicles.

It is claiming that handling will be much better too because cars will have a lower centre of gravity due to the way the new powertrains will be mounted.

Indo Motoring

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